Metabolism controls every physiological process in your body. It converts the food we eat into the energy required to drive everything we do – from moving to thinking to growing. While metabolism influences many things, including weight, libido, fertility, recovery and performance – perhaps its most important influence is on energy levels. With that in mind, here are 5 ways you can naturally boost your metabolism for optimal energy levels.

1. Get plenty of sleep

Sleep is probably the most important energy booster. For good quality sleep, reduce your exposure to unnatural light (eg. phones, laptops, computers, TV) after 7pm – the high levels of (blue) light can suppress melatonin, the sleep hormone. Don’t forget that sleep deprivation is accumulative and may take several days to weeks to re-balance. If you’re still feeling with low energy levels during the day, take a 30 minute siesta mid-afternoon.

2. Early morning exercise

Early morning exercise is a great way to fire up your metabolism and boost your energy levels for the rest of the day. Be sure to perform light to moderate intensity exercise, with a focus on mobility and whole body movements. Activities like brisk walking, yoga or even light circuit training will enhance circulation, oxygen uptake, and nutrient delivery for the rest of the day.

3. Manage stress

While acute stress can increase metabolism (through adrenaline and cortisol release), chronic stress can cause a drop in metabolism and energy levels. If you have stress in your daily lifestyle, look for common signs, including insomnia, fatigue, cold hands/feet, poor recovery, weight gain – and explore ways to manage your stress. Daily meditation, lunchtime walks, and breathing techniques are some of the ways you can immediately reduce stress and boost energy levels.

4. Eat regularly

Probably the most obvious yet least adhered way to increase energy levels is to eat regularly during the day. Adequate consumption of carbohydrates will prevent energy drops. Learn to identify when your metabolism is running low, and be sure to eat. Indicators of a low metabolism include cold hands and feet, loss of concentration and general feelings of lethargy – listen out for the signs and eat accordingly.

5. Pimp your coffee

While excess caffeine consumption should be avoided, treat yourself to a mid-morning (single shot) coffee as an extra metabolic stimulant. For slow-releasing energy, add coconut oil, cream, and honey to sweeten. Be sure to avoid caffeine after midday.